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UN calls on rival Libya factions to end war and unite

Date of publication: 20 March, 2019

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The UN envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, called on rival factions to seize upon the opportunities at a national conference next month.

The UN envoy for Libya urged on Wednesday different factions to take advantage of a National Conference that will be held next month to unite the country and end fighting.

Ghassan Salame called on all parties to use this "crucial opportunity" to come up with a peace roadmap to put an end to division and chaos.

Salame warned against any stalemate in dialogue between the factions which, according to him, could lead to further conflict.

"We will be faced with only two possible options: prolonged stalemate or conflict," he warned, if the parties don't unite.

The North African country has witnessed political turmoil since a 2011 uprising, which resulted in ousting and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Currently, the country is run by rival governments in the east and west and has become a bastion for armed militants who survive on looting and human trafficking.

The National Conference, which will take place in Ghadames town on 14 to 16 April, will be attended by more than 120 Libyans, as stated Salame in a press conference.

Addressing the Security Council, Salame said that his mission is to work with Libyan factions for the National Conference "to ensure as broad a buy-in as possible to the political process".

In his briefing, he said: "What is clear is that the Libyan people fervently desire that their institutions be united as soon as possible". He also said that a number of various forces will likely benefit from further turmoil.

"Unfortunately, they are up against powerful forces, which have materially profited from the country's chaos and division and are therefore loath to work towards a unification."

The conference, which will assemble rival authorities in the country, will not include any foreign parties and it is hoped to be an opportunity to "put aside their differences for the good of the country, to unite, to avoid war and to choose a path of peace and prosperity".

The UN envoy stated that the conference will attempt to conclude the country's eight-year conflict by means of parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as decide whether to endorse a National Charter drafted during consultations.

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